12/18/2010 2:20PM

Champagne d'Oro's La Brea workout postponed

Barbara D. Livingston
Champagne d'Oro wil try to break a two-race losing streak in the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Wet weather kept Santa Anita’s main track closed for training Saturday and prevented Champagne d’Oro from a workout in advance of the $250,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on opening day of the meet, Dec. 26.

Initially, trainer Eric Guillot was frustrated at the disruption, but after thinking through the situation, he decided that Champagne d’Oro may not need that much exercise to be ready for the Grade 1 race over seven furlongs.

“I was hoping to get a work in,” he said Saturday morning. “I thought about working her today, but the track is closed. I don’t think I can get a work in until Tuesday.

“It doesn’t matter. I got a five-eighths work in her last week and I got a five-eighths work in her at Hollywood Park [on Dec. 6]. It may be a blessing in disguise.”

As a back-up plan, Guillot is hoping that a weekend of wet weather in Southern California relents in time for a significant gallop or a half-mile work on Tuesday. Either way, Champagne d’Oro will be after her third Grade 1 of the year.

Owned by Southern Equine Stable, Champagne d’Oro won the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park in June in a 39-1 upset and then won the Grade 1 Test Stakes, as a 5-1 chance, over seven furlongs at Saratoga in August.

By Medaglia d’Oro, Champagne d’Oro has lost her last two starts, a fourth in the Grade 2 TCA Stakes at Keeneland in October and a fourth, as the 4-1 favorite, in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. She is part of a 20-horse stable that Guillot will have at Santa Anita this winter.

Guillot envisions Champagne d’Oro having the early lead in the La Brea.

“We’ll go on the front end and let them come and get me,” he said.

Michael Baze, who has ridden in the Midwest for most of this year, will have the mount, Guillot said. Baze is expected to ride primarily at Oaklawn Park in early 2011.

The La Brea field is led by Switch, who was second in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint and was second to Zenyatta in the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Hollywood Park in October.

The field will not include Tanda, who won two Grade 3 races in Southern California in the spring. A bruised foot sustained earlier this month, and the wet weather, has delayed her training, trainer Dan Hendricks said.

Rain keeps track closed on Saturday

Santa Anita’s newly installed main track was closed for training on Saturday after the surface received more than a half-inch of rain that arrived slowly over the preceding 24 hours, track superintendent Richard Tedesco said.

Tedesco said the track would be open for joggers on the outside half of the surface on Sunday, but warned that wet weather will persist in Southern California in coming days.

“We’ve got a soaking slow rain,” he said. “I haven’t got a heavy rain yet and that’s what hurting me. It doesn’t run off.”

Santa Anita installed a conventional clay and sand track in October and November, after removing a troubled synthetic track earlier in the fall. Santa Anita had a synthetic track for three years, but the surface was plagued by drainage problems that led to the cancellation of racing days on some occasions in wet weather.

Saturday’s closure of the main track was reminiscent of maintenance procedures before the synthetic era when the surface was sealed during wet weather to allow water to run off the top of the surface. As a result, the track was closed on Saturday, with training activity limited to the infield training track.

According to weather.com, rain is expected through Wednesday, with clear weather expected later in the week. There is the possibility of rain for Dec. 26.